Cosmonauts to conduct spacewalk as Russian space agency chief calls Space Station unfit

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A day after the Russian space agency chief said that the International Space Station is dangerous and unfit for purpose, two cosmonauts are set to walk out of the airlock to conduct a spacewalk. The spacewalk will be conducted on Friday.

The cosmonauts will go out of the safety of the airlock to outfit the European robotic arm on the International Space Station’s Nauka laboratory. Nasa will conduct a live stream of the spacewalk.

The spacewalk will be conducted by Expedition 67 Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev. The two Roscosmos cosmonauts will exit the station’s space-facing Poisk module into the vacuum of space.

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Nasa said that the primary objectives of the spacewalk are to relocate an external control panel for the arm from one operating area to another and test a rigidizing mechanism on the arm that will be used to facilitate the grasping of payloads.

Roscosmos chief Yuri Borisov said, “Technically, the ISS has exceeded all its warranty periods.” (Photo: SpaceX)

“Artemyev will wear a Russian Orlan spacesuit with red stripes, while Matveev will wear a Russian Orlan suit with blue stripes. This will be the eighth spacewalk for Artemyev and the fourth for Matveev,” Nasa said in an update.

The spacewalk is aimed at finishing the work that began on August 17, which was cut short after Artemyev’s spacesuit showed abnormal battery readings about 2 hours and 17 minutes into the spacewalk. He had completed the installation of a pair of cameras on the arm and removed parts attached to the arm’s end effector before the spacewalk ended.

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“The European robotic arm will be used to move payloads and equipment outside the Russian segment of the station, joining the Canadian-built Canadarm2 robotic arm and the Japanese arm already supporting station maintenance, operations, and research,” Nasa said in a statement.

The latest development comes on the heels of growing strain between Russian and American relations over space cooperation. Newly appointed Roscosmos chief Yuri Borisov told Reuters, “Technically, the ISS has exceeded all its warranty periods. This is dangerous. An avalanche-like process of equipment failure is beginning, cracks are appearing.” He further added that Russia’s new station would orbit Earth around the poles, enabling it to look down on far more of Russia’s vast territory and gather new data on cosmic radiation.

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